How to Take an MCAT Prep Course

MCAT scores can be a major determining factor in medical school admission. Although admissions committees also look at overall GPA, science GPA and letters of recommendation, a high MCAT score can set you apart from the masses and increase your chances of receiving financial aid. Many companies offer MCAT prep courses designed to review substantive topics covered on the exam and to teach test-taking tactics.


    • 1

      Choose a prep course with proven results. Read testimonials, talk to former students and read online reviews and ratings. You can only take the test 3 times per year and prep courses can cost more than $2000 per year, so you must spend your time wisely.

    • 2

      Pick a course format that suits your scheduling needs and complements your learning style. Most MCAT prep companies offer private tutoring, online courses and classroom instruction. If you choose classroom instruction, you will likely still have access to online resources including online chat.

    • 3

      Take all practice tests available to you. The Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC), which develops and administers the exam, regularly releases practice tests. Many MCAT prep courses give students access to all available AAMC practice tests. The MCAT is now computer-based, so make sure you take computer, rather than paper-and-pencil practice exams.

    • 4

      Know your strengths and weaknesses. The MCAT is comprised of four sections: physical sciences; verbal reasoning; biological sciences and essays. Devote additional at-home study time to those areas where you need the most improvement. You may also want to work extra problems and read additional materials when appropriate.

    • 5

      Attend all classes and do all homework. Course designers spend years developing materials that work together to maximize test takers' MCAT scores.

Tips & Warnings

  • Some prep companies offer intensive subject-area tutoring for an additional fee.
  • Subjects covered on the MCAT include, but are not limited to: thermodynamics; nuclear physics; the periodic table; the muscular, skeletal and circulatory systems; cell division, stereochemistry; nomenclature; and amino acids.
  • If your score doesn't improve, you may be able to get a course fee refund or retake the course for free. Read the MCAT prep course satisfaction guarantee for specific details.
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